It’s the final season of True Blood, and producers promised that it was going to be a shocker, and boy, did they come through. True Blood has always been a show that’s centered on absurdity, but this is definitely not what I was expecting when they said “shocking.”
The episode begins exactly where the season six finale left off. The human and vampire speed-dating mixer at Bellefleur’s is crashed by a group of rabid vampires infected with Hep V, and they are tearing the place apart. True Blood has never shied away from violent vampire attack scenes, but this scene was so frenzied, I had to go back and watch the season six finale just so I could feel a little more grounded in what was happening.
This scene is definitely one of the most terrifying scenes True Blood has ever had. There is absolute and utter chaos unfolding at Bellefleur’s, and people are dying left and right. Tara is battles it out with an infected vampire in an attempt to save her mother, and in the meantime, Holly, Arlene, and Sam’s pregnant lady-love Nicole, are all carried away by Hep V vampires. Then, suddenly, the Hep V vampires zip away as if nothing had happened.
The aftermath of this scene is by far the most chilling part of the episode. The screen is silent, no one is talking and all of the remaining original characters are standing around, staring at the wreckage. Quietly, you hear someone off-screen sobbing and the camera pans over to show a hysterical Lettie-Mae, covered in what appears to be the bloody, goopy remnants of her daughter. And just like that, Tara is dead before the opening credits have even rolled.
The rest of the show is pretty standard, as far as True Blood is concerned. After the credits roll, the episode splits into its separate storylines. Sam is caught turning back into a human by his rival for the mayoral race, Vince, and convinces him to keep his mouth shut, and that’s really all we see of him. Sookie and Alcide are probably the least exciting elements of this episode, which is strange because Sookie’s best friend on planet earth has just met the True Death.
Leaving Bellefleur’s, she sneaks off, alone, in the night after overhearing everyone’s thoughts, including Alcide’s, and they are all blaming her for the death of Tara and the attack on Bon Temps. Once Alcide gets home and berates her for going off on her home, they have a standard Sookie vs. Love Interest fight and make-up plotline for the show. Pretty boring, considering the sort of despair she should be going through.
After the attack, Bill Compton sends Jessica’s boyfriend, James, home with Lafayette to protect him. Lafayette and James get high and they have a heart-to-heart about James’ draft dodging during the Vietnam War. Apparently, his best friend died in the war and his father took it out on James, calling him gay slurs and beating him. Later that night, he was turned into a vampire. There is a strong dynamic between James and Lafayette, but I can already see where this is going. I have no problem with Lafayette finding some well-deserved love, but I just wish it wasn’t poor Jessica’s boyfriend.
Meanwhile, Jessica is waiting around at Andy Bellefleur’s house when Andy gets the call from Jason saying that Holly has been abducted by the Hep V vampires. Andy demands that his only remaining daughter, Adilyn stay inside and not ever, under any circumstances, let Jessica in. Jessica hangs around, hoping she can redeem herself by protecting Adilyn from outside.
Sure enough, in the midst of a sweet, but odd little girl talk, an infected vampire catches a whiff of Adilyn’s sweet, half-fairy blood and does everything he can to get to her. Jessica stands strong, claiming Adilyn as her own and keeping the enemy vampire at bay until the sun comes up. As her skin starts to burn in the sun, Adilyn gives in and invites Jessica inside, where Jessica experiences a moment of weakness around the scent of Adilyn’s blood before rushing to the light-proof attic.
Jason and Violet have gone off together to hunt for the Hep V vampire nest, and instead they run into Vince and a gang of civilian vampire hunting militia. Jason tries to convince them to back down, but Violet completely undermines him by publically claiming him as ‘hers’ and makes him look weak, and whipped, which he is. Then, he goes off and yells at her and in this week’s installment of Soft-Core Pornography with Jason Stackhouse, he has angry sex with her on the hood of his car.
I know that Soft-Core Porn with Jason is now a True Blood stand-by, but I don’t really approve of this week’s approach. His childhood friend, who used to be utterly in love with him, has just died and a gang of vampires is attacking his town, but all he can think about is his prolonged, involuntary celibacy. Get your priorities straight, Jason. This is not the time or the place for that nonsense. Not to mention, he was violent and demanding, but apparently, that’s what Violet has been holding out for.
Off in Morocco, Pam is desperately searching for Eric. We first see her winning a game of vampire Russian Roulette and spitting out some of the worst dialogue I have ever heard in my life. It was so bad, I actually kind of loved it. My absolute favorite line was when the referee of the game asks Pam her name and she responds with “Go f*** yourself.” When she wins the game by not dying, she is handed a note that takes her to a market. There, she is offered a child (because children have the only clean blood in North Africa), which she refuses, and a map that supposedly leads to Eric. All we really know is that it’s a place she doesn’t think he would ever go.
Besides the first scene, the strongest and most moving parts of the episode are the scenes with Andy and the scenes with Lettie-Mae. Andy is off hunting for the nest with Bill, and they find it in an old warehouse. The vampires are all gone, but they run into the civilian militia that Jason and Violet have just shaken off. Vince and the others are furious with Andy for trying to push the “one human for every vampire” deal, and Bill comes to his defense by telling them that Andy stayed home from the mixer in protest, and didn’t support the idea at all. This placates them, but they still want to shoot Bill, who brought all this trouble along in the first place.
Andy insists that if anyone has a right to shoot Bill, it should be him, and they hand him the gun. Then, showing he truly does have a backbone, he turns the gun on Vince and his gang and tells them to scram, saying he’s not killing anyone until Bill helps him get Holly back. Andy needs more moments of strength in this show, to prove he isn’t just an oaf with a drug problem and a badge.
Speaking of addiction problems, Willa, the abandoned newborn vampire, gives Lettie-Mae her blood to heal her and then helps the reverend get her home. There. Lettie-Mae begins to hallucinate Tara, claiming she hasn’t really died and that they were going to go find her. Lettie-Mae’s scenes this episode are flawless. She is hysterical and emotional, and there’s a part of you that wants to believe that she’s right, and Tara’s gonna come marching in any second.
Towards the end of the episode, we see that the Hep V vampires are no longer in Bon Temps at all, but that they have taken up camp in the neglected vampire bar Fangtasia. Holly and Arlene are trying to hold it together, while Nicole is worried that she can’t feel the baby moving. Not a whole lot happens here, but at least we know where they are.
To end the episode, everyone in Bon Temps has gathered at the church. The reverend is still pushing people to accept the vampires for their own safety, and the town is still blaming Sookie for everything. She stays in the church for a whopping thirty seconds before blowing up on everyone, and begging them to understand that she is trying to help them, not hurt them.
Overall, considering the very shocking death at the beginning, it was an exciting and fast paced episode. It leaves the viewer with a lot of questions though, like, how can they kill off Tara and have such a lackluster response to her death? Sookie gets drunk and fights with Alcide, but other than everyone blaming her for everything, no one else reacts. We don’t even see Pam’s reaction to the loss of her progeny, something she surely would have felt, even in Morocco. This, paired with Lettie Mae’s vampire blood induced hallucinations, almost makes one wonder if Tara isn’t still out there, especially since the actress who plays Tara is still listed in the regular cast credits. But Rutina Wesley, the actress who plays Tara, insists that she is dead, and it’s hard to question the pile of vampire goo that Lettie-Mae was found sitting in. I guess we’ll just have to wait for the next episode to find out what’s really going on.